Chapter 421 – Seeing the Black Ox Again, Waiting a Thousand Days
Everyone was stunned. Liu Chuanfeng twisted himself around. His mouth opened, but he faltered.
Hua Chengzan’s eyes shone brilliantly. “He actually succeeded!” From meeting him the first time till now, not even a decade had passed. He had gone from being a worthless member of the jianghu to a Foundation Establishment cultivator who could preside over an entire region.
And, he had accomplished this without any clan or background. Those so-called geniuses were nothing special at all before him. Gu Yanying’s special instructions truly seemed insightful now.
The leader of the school of Miscellany, Gou Dai, widened his eyes. He was unable to say anything at all, as the aura Li Qingshan gave off was actually slightly more powerful than his. He did not seem like he had just succeeded with Foundation Establishment at all.
The Arts of the Boundless Ocean definitely played a role, but Li Qingshan’s startling talent after reaching the third layer of the spirit turtle was even more important. After reaching Foundation Establishment, cultivators did not judge each other’s auras on the strength of their spiritual energy alone. They placed great focus on their connection with the spiritual qi of the world too.
Just by sitting there on his knees, Li Qingshan’s aura was like the waves of the ocean, endless and connected with the world, becoming one with nature. All the other Foundation Establishment cultivators present who had broken through recently felt slightly pressured before him.
“Why are you all staring at me? Keep going. I want to listen in too.” Li Qingshan smiled. He was not like regular Foundation Establishment cultivators who ravished in joy after breaking through. He had already experienced this extraordinary power when he broke through to Daemon General.
He had only come to understand the situation so that he could decide where he could start.
“Qingshan, you actually!” Liu Chuanfeng lunged over and grabbed Li Qingshan by the shoulders. He was elated, even happier than Li Qingshan himself.
“Qingshan, that’s fantastic. That way, our academy will possess another Foundation Establishment cultivator!” Wei Yangsheng smiled. However, Chu Tian behind him clenched his fist and gritted his teeth. He, a blessed prodigy, had actually lost to a country bumpkin in terms of cultivation speed. However, no matter how arrogant he was, he still understood the difference that existed between Foundation Establishment cultivators and Qi Practitioners. He was not bold enough to openly provoke him.
The other school leaders all gathered over to congratulate him. Gou Dai forced out a smile on his round face too, discussing the matters of the past with great affection with him.
Only the leader of the school of Buddhism, Mind Enlightenment, furrowed his brows and remained where he was. He had just dismissed Xiao An as the primary disciple of the school of Buddhism, and everyone in the academy knew how close Li Qingshan and Xiao An were. He was afraid he had already offended Li Qingshan deeply.
“Senior brother Mind Enlightenment, you’ve emerged too.” Li Qingshan took the initiative instead.
“Yeah. Congratulations on your successful Foundation Establishment, junior brother.” Mind Enlightenment brought his palms together and bowed.
“From today onwards, Xiao An is no longer a member of the school of Buddhism. She’ll be with me instead, so she won’t be accepting any pills from the school of Buddhism anymore. I do believe she’ll definitely avenge the One Thought master. I’m sorry for your loss, senior brother.” Li Qingshan had heard about the One Thought master’s fate from Xiao An. Xiao An never mentioned anything about what she would do, but he had already made up his mind.
In the past, the One Thought master had taken great care of Xiao An. All the pills she obtained ended up in his belly too. Li Qingshan was not exactly saddened by the One Thought master’s death, but he had to keep clear accounts of the kindness he received. He had to maintain a clear conscience.
“Amitābha,” Mind Enlightment said before lowering his head and falling silent.
Leaving the Academy of the Hundred Schools was not so easy. Li Qingshan only possessed the right to say something like that with his current cultivation. The other school leaders would not object either. Moreover, Xiao An had already been accepted by the Annihilum Light Chan Master of the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga as a disciple. This identity of hers completely surpassed her identity as a disciple of the school of Buddhism.
Li Qingshan’s gaze landed on an empty seat. That originally belonged to the leader of the school of Medicine. The primary disciple of the school of Medicine was missing as well.
Hua Chengzan said, “Ru Xin’s already succeeded with Foundation Establishment too. She’s now the leader of the school of Medicine, but she spends most of her time outside, healing the sick. She rarely attends these meetings.”
Li Qingshan nodded. “Senior brother Wei, could you explain the current circumstances to me?”
It was getting late, so the meeting ended. The news of Li Qingshan’s breakthrough to Foundation Establishment shook up the entire academy, but the person that the news revolved around, Li Qingshan, turned down any celebratory banquets and left the academy with Xiao An, arriving in a desolate valley.
The moonlight was hazy, and the plants were verdant.
Li Qingshan’s eyes shone. He felt slightly excited and very eager inside. Foundation Establishment had never meant much to him, but what it represented was something extraordinary.
He calmed himself down and found a cavern before sealing off the surroundings with a few formation scrolls. Only then did he fish out a ring from his clothes. It was the Soaring Dragon Elder’s sumeru ring.
Li Qingshan took in a deep breath and held the sumeru ring firmly. Just what had the black ox left for him inside? Was it an ultimate treasure? Some ultimate pill? Or perhaps it was only a joke, just a way to encourage him?
Lifting up the ring, Li Qingshan and Xiao An’s hands merged together. Under Xiao An’s gaze, Li Qingshan slowly slid the ring onto his finger.
Afterwards, he closed his eyes and channeled spiritual energy into it. The ring gradually began to glow, lighting up the dark cave. Li Qingshan’s heart shuddered. This was the first time he had experienced something like this.
Then, Li Qingshan released his soul sense, sending it deep into the sumeru ring. However, he was stopped by an energy, preventing him from venturing any deeper. A huge, golden dragon coiled firmly in his boundless sea of consciousness.
This was a form of will the Soaring Dragon Elder had left behind. Only by erasing it could he truly make the sumeru ring his.
Li Qingshan smiled. He could finally see the gate. Now, all he had to do was barge through that gate. He immediately mobilised his soul sense to attack the golden dragon. With that, the golden dragon jerked awake, emitting a lengthy roar. It seemed to kick up a fierce gust of wind, making his entire sea of consciousness tremor.
The soul sense Li Qingshan had released was basically torn to shreds instantly. He felt his head grow light as the world spun around him. He had never expected a will left behind by the Soaring Dragon Elder who had been dead for all these years to still possess so much power.
To Foundation Establishment cultivators, the sea of consciousness was even more important than their sea of qi. If the sea of qi were destroyed, they had a chance at cultivating it again, but if their sea of consciousness shattered, even the best outcome was being reduced to an imbecile.
Li Qingshan was not completely unprepared. He bellowed out inside, The Spirit Turtle Suppresses the Seas!
A turtle’s shell no different from his daemon core appeared in his sea of consciousness. In the beginning, it was only the size of a grain of rice, but as it absorbed the shattered soul sense, it rapidly strengthened. Before long, a huge turtle shell hovered in the sea of consciousness, forcefully suppressing all the chaos.
Li Qingshan eased up, and his mind cleared. Afterwards, he immediately sent the spirit turtle hurtling towards the golden dragon.
Boom! There was a thunderous rumble in his mind, and he experienced a splitting headache.
Only after a very long time did the rumbling stop. Li Qingshan had already withdrawn his soul sense, and he discovered that the spirit turtle had already shrunk, while the golden dragon had grown slightly dimmer too. Fortunately, the will the Soaring Dragon Elder left behind only attacked reactively and not proactively, giving him sufficient time to catch his breath. It also reminded him to be constantly cautious about this aspect when he fought other people.
Practising the Arts of the Boundless Ocean, his spiritual energy was powerful and his body was tough, but there were no improvements in his soul sense. It was said that only the cultivation methods of mohism focused on this aspect, as it could improve their control over many more powerful puppets.
However, perhaps due to practising the three supernatural abilities of the ox demon, tiger demon, and spirit turtle, Li Qingshan’s sea of consciousness had been extremely powerful the moment he opened it. He recovered rather quickly too. When the spirit turtle returned to its original size, Li Qingshan sent it towards the golden dragon again.
Boom! There was another rumble. He repeated this again and again. After who knew how many times, the golden dragon had already become extremely dim, as well as less than a tenth of its original size.
However, through the constant depletion and recovery, the spirit turtle had instead grown slightly larger. Mustering up all his strength, the spirit turtle smashed down, and the golden dragon let out another roar, but it was so feeble that it sounded more like a wail before death. Unable to bear the burden anymore, the dragon twisted.
The sumeru ring flashed, and the obstacle that blocked Li Qingshan finally vanished. He let out a sigh of relief, about to open up the sumeru ring and look for what the black ox had left behind.
A man with a pair of horns appeared out of nowhere with his back towards him, seated on the spirit turtle. Li Qingshan had only seen this figure once, but it was deeply embedded in his mind. It was even loftier than mountains.
Li Qingshan cried out, “Brother ox!”
“You’re finally here.” The black ox’s voice seemed to boom out like a bell, enough to cause avalanches. It resounded through his entire sea of consciousness, but it caused Li Qingshan no discomfort at all.
“Don’t tell me you’ve been hiding away and secretly spying on me the entire time!” Li Qingshan had absolutely no doubt that the black ox possessed a repulsive habit like that. After all, he had spent a dozen or so years like that, playing himself off as a normal ox.
“Kid, don’t get too ahead of yourself. This is just a part of my soul sense that I left behind. Why would I care about what you do? A decade for you is as brief as a day for me.”
“Then why’d you leave in such a hurry? Why didn’t you spend a day or two longer with me? That way, I can continue to listen to your teachings too. If I ended up being finished off by someone, that day of yours would be wasted.”
Originally, Li Qingshan thought the black ox would say, I have plenty of time. Even without Li Qingshan, I have a Zhang Qingshan and a Wang Qingshan.
However, the black ox said instead, “Then I’ll have to find you again in saṃsāra and spend another day. Don’t doubt yourself. No matter who tells you you’re of absolutely no importance or significance, you can just treat them like they’re talking out of their ass.”
“Then can you tell me why you chose me?” Li Qingshan wondered. Was it because he possessed some kind of impressive talent? Or because he was just some reincarnation of someone powerful, which the black ox wanted good graces with?
“That’s because I believe you, even though you’re just a regular old kid with a bit of innate knowledge.”
At this moment, the black ox’s figure flickered. “I’m going to go. Keep advancing forward, kid. Don’t make me find you in saṃsāra. That takes a lot of time, y’know. I don’t have too much time. I hope this won’t be the last time we meet.” As he said that, the black ox’s figure gradually faded away.
Li Qingshan shuddered inside. “Then how long do I have?”
“Around a thousand days.”
Li Qingshan was relieved. “Then just wait in peace! I might just be a regular old kid, but I’m not that useless.” If I can’t even achieve something with ten thousand years of cultivation, I’ll kill myself, alright? “Oh right, what about the thing you left for me?”
“Isn’t it in your heart already?”